This chapter is really great, and very powerful. I think that seeing Thestrals for the first time must be such an upsetting and frightening experience for everyone, and the fact that Hermione was saddened by the fact that so many kids could see them now. The second year looking longingly at Hagrid and the firsties was really powerful: it's like he's mourning his innocence, that time before he had seen death and survived war. The battle of Hogwarts must have turned so many children into adults, and you really conveyed that beautifully here with that small image.
At first I wasn't sure about Aberforth being the new head of the Wizemgamot, but the idea has grown on me. He felt like a sort of unheroic hero, someone who operates in the shadows and does good while grumbling about it. But he did do a lot for them in DH, and I can imagine that without Albus Dumbledore, the wizarding world would be desperate to find a similar figurehead as a sort of reminder and comfort. I liked the detail about everyone forgetting about the goat story! :)
I really, really enjoyed Lucius' trial. He's just such a slippery character, and that mixed with his desperation really came across well. The line where someone asked Aberforth if Snape had murdered Dumbledore made me laugh, even though it was a rather serious situation. Also, Ron's anger at Malfoy's line about Fred dying was really powerful as well. It's a low blow, and very typical of Lucius, but also tragically true in a way.
Mrs. Weasley's complaints about Ron having a rip in his robe was funny, and so perfect of Molly. It's these little details that really show how well you understand these characters and the quirks and details of their personalities.
I like the little details about the Quidditch trials, showing that while everyone has changed things at Hogwarts can get back to normal. You write Ginny so well, and I loved the awkwardness with Dean! A lot of the time his relationship with Ginny seems to be forgotten, but I liked how she felt as if she couldn't talk to him anymore, showing that for a while they actually were quite close. Also, I like how you show Ginny's sphere of Hogwarts being seperate from Harry's: she knows different students and occupies a different space, and her friendships and acknowledgements of the younger students really conveys this. :)
I'm so glad I got a chance to come back and review this chapter, I've been meaning to for a while! Another brilliant chapter, and I'll hopefully check out the next one soon! :D
Author's Response: Thank you for another lovely, heartwarming review! :)
Yes, the thestrals become a symbol for the loss of innocence, and I'm glad that it came across. As I wrote it, I felt so bad for that little boy... but that's just another effect of the war. Not even the children will leave it unscarred, sadly.
Well, I figured that no one could really fill Dumbledore's shoes...except for maybe another Dumbledore. I'm glad that the idea grew on you, though. I agree, he is a hero in a way, as was shown when he did end up fighting for the same cause that his brother had died for, and that's why I chose him ;) It's nice that you noticed the part about the goat, haha!
No, Lucius is still not very likable. I'm glad that those traits came across. And you're so right about that line about Fred - tragically true is exactly what it was.
Thank you again for that! I thought it sounded like something Mrs Weasley would say, and I'm glad that you agree :)
Yes, Hogwarts is still Hogwarts, even after everything that has happened. I'm so glad that you think that Ginny was portrayed well, because she IS quite difficult to write (you seem to have no problem with it, though). Things are bound to get awkward between a former couple, aren't they? Yes, when I thought about, we don't really know that much about Ginny's Hogwarts, do we?
I'm so thankful for this lovely, kind and encouraging review! I hope you'll come back as well - you are always so kind, and give the best advice in your reviews! Thank you again! :)